Page 2587 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 11 August 2015

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As to how this auction will contribute to our 90 per cent renewable energy target, I am pleased to say that at the conclusion of the awarding of this latest auction round which I announced yesterday, we will achieve 80 per cent of our full 90 per cent renewable energy target by the year 2018. That demonstrates that you can actually get on and deliver these projects on the ground, secure the renewable energy you need and at the same time see significant investment in jobs and economic opportunity in our city.

What has been most notable from the last auction round for wind is the level of investment into our city. We saw $50 million of direct investment pledged from the winning bidders in the last wind auction round. We know that overall the economic benefits are over $250 million into our economy. They are supporting jobs in new industries based here in Canberra.

For example, Canberra-based company Windlab are going to grow the number of employees that they employ here in Canberra by between 40 and 60 over the term of their feed-in tariff entitlement. They are basing their global wind development headquarters here. They will be monitoring and supporting the operations of wind farms nationally and internationally right here in Canberra. It was very likely that because of the failure of the federal government to properly support renewable energy they were going to shift their operations out of Canberra and potentially out of Australia. We are now in a position where we have secured those jobs here in our city as a result of this government’s commitment to renewable energy and the jobs and economic opportunities as well as the environmental benefits that it brings.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, can you tell us more about actions taken to achieve the 90 per cent by 2020 renewable energy target and how the ACT is tracking to achieve that target?

MR CORBELL: I thank Dr Bourke for his supplementary question. As I mentioned earlier, at the conclusion of the next auction round we will be at 80 per cent renewables by 2018, and that places us in a strong position to achieve our 90 per cent by 2020 target. But this process through which we are securing renewable energy from wind is only one part of a broader program to make that switch to a low carbon future. We are, of course, investing and supporting 40 megawatts of solar power generation, with 20 megawatts now operational and other projects are coming through the development pipeline. We have more than 50 megawatts of small-scale solar already operating on rooftops across the ACT, and that is also contributing towards our 90 per cent by 2020 target. Right now the government is also assessing the expressions of interest from the “next gen” solar process, which is looking at opportunities to secure 50 megawatts of large-scale solar generation with storage.

Combined, these projects are bringing significant interest to our city commercially, with companies saying this is the place to invest and grow their businesses. That means they are supporting jobs and they are investing in our city. They are investing millions of dollars into the ANU for research and development. They are investing over $7 million into the Canberra Institute of Technology to build Australia’s first dedicated renewable energy skills training centre.

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